UPDATE: Tucson shooter Jared Loughner sentenced to seven life terms in prison
Convicted Tucson gunman Jared Loughner was sentenced to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in prison on Thursday for killing six people and wounding 13 others, including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, in a rampage last year.
Loughner, 24, a college dropout with a history of psychiatric disorders, was handed the sentence following a plea deal with prosecutors in August that spared him the death penalty.
Loughner, a college dropout, pleaded guilty in August in federal court to 19 charges, including murder and attempted murder, in connection with the January 8, 2011 shootings outside a Tucson area supermarket.
He admitted going to a “Congress On Your Corner” event armed with a loaded Glock 19 pistol and 60 additional rounds of ammunition with plans to kill Giffords, who was seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party.
Loughner shot her through the head at close range, but she survived with injuries that left her with speech difficulties and a limp. Six people were killed, including U.S. District Judge John Roll and 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green.
Loughner also admitted shooting the others with the intent to kill.
Court-appointed experts said Loughner suffered from schizophrenia, disordered thinking and delusions. He was determined unfit to stand trial in May 2011 after he disrupted court proceedings and was dragged out of the courtroom.
Loughner later was ruled mentally competent to stand trial after being treated for psychosis at a U.S. Bureau of Prisons psychiatric hospital in Springfield, Missouri. He then agreed to plead guilty.
Few clues to the motives for the attack have emerged. But prison psychologist Christina Pietz has testified that Loughner had expressed remorse for the rampage and especially for the 9-year-old girl’s death.
Giffords resigned from Congress in January to focus on her recovery. Her former aide, Ron Barber, who was also wounded in the shooting spree, served out the rest of her term after winning a special election.
Barber ran in Tuesday’s election for a newly created congressional district in Arizona and was running neck-and-neck with Republican Martha McSally, with the outcome hanging on some 80,000 provisional and early votes that have yet to be tallied.